The president and chief executive of Samsung?s semiconductor business in the US, Park Young-hwan, and other top executives across the chip giant?s Korean and US operations have been stripped out of the company?s $300m plea agreement with the Justice Department.

The move raises the prospect that the executives could still be implicated in the price fixing scandal.

A spokesperson for Samsung on Tuesday said that Mr Park and five other executives in the US and Korea who were explicitly exempt from the protection of the company?s plea agreement continued to work for the company and were ?innocent until proven otherwise?. A seventh executive, Young Bae Rha, has retired, the company said.

Samsung Electronics, the world?s second-largest chipmaker, in October admitted that it participated in a massive international price fixing conspiracy in the market for D-Ram, chips used in everything from computers to electronic games.

Thomas Barnett, the head of the DOJ?s antitrust division, said at the time that seven executives had been ?cut out? of the plea agreement, but the names and status of the individuals were not made public until on Tuesday.

Other executives included Ung Kim, vice president of marketing at the company?s semicondutor business, and Thomas Quinn, another senior executive of the semiconductor division.

Mr Park was formerly vice presidenet of memory sales for Samsung Electronics in Korea, according to his biography on the company?s website. Under his leadership, from 2001 to 2003, ?the division saw its most dramatic growth?, the company said.

Samsung was the third company to be fined as part of the DOJ?s wide ranging probe into the price fixing scandal, which occured between 1999 and 2002. Hynix Semiconductor paid $185m in April and Germany?s Infineon paid $160m in fines last year. Four Infineon executives have served prison terms ranging from four to six months. Another executive from Micron Technology was sentenced to six months of home detention for obstruction of justice in connection to the matter.

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